Diamonds and Ice

Cedar Rapids Kernels 2009 roster

Here’s the opening-day roster for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The team is scheduled to fly into Cedar Rapids this afternoon to prepare for the season opener, which is Thursday night at 6:30 at home against the Beloit Snappers.

There are 10 players on the roster that have played in Cedar Rapids before: infielders Alexi Amarista, Hector Estrella, Carlos Colmenares and Gabe Jacobo, outfielder Angel Castillo and catchers Anel De Los Santos and C.J. Bressoud and pitchers Michael Davitt, Chris Armstrong and Vladimir Veras.

Veras missed all of last season with an arm injury, pitching some for the Kernels in 2007. Interesting that two guys that lit up the Rookie-level Pioneer League for Orem last season (that’s the level before the Kernels in the parent Los Angeles Angels farm system) aren’t on the roster and presumably headed for high-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Third baseman Luis Jimenez led the Pioneer League in home runs last season with 15, hitting .331. First baseman Roberto Lopez hit a league-high .400 with 14 home runs and league-best 72 RBIs. Remember that’s all in a half-season.

Anyway, here’s the opening-day roster:


Chris Armstrong 5-10 195 L/L Owasso OK 02/10/88 14th Rd – 2006 Salt Lake/Cedar Rapids

Manuarys Correa 6-3 170 R/R San Cristobal DR 01/05/89 2007 Free Agent AZL Angels/Orem

Michael Davitt 6-5 205 R/R Shreveport LA 09/08/86 29th Rd – 2006 Cedar Rapids

Manuel Flores 6-2 170 L/L Anzoategui VZ 06/01/87 2006 Free Agent AZL Angels

Mike Kohn 6-2 210 R/R Camden SC 06/26/86 13th Rd – 2008 Orem

Jayson Miller 5-11 170 L/L Yakima WA 11/25/85 30th Rd – 2008 Orem

Kevin Nabors 6-3 220 R/R Spanish Fort AL 08/12/85 26th Rd – 2008 Orem

Christian Scholl 5-11 195 R/R Tacoma WA 10/27/87 8th Rd – 2008 Orem

Will Smith 6-2 220 R/R Newnan GA 07/10/89 7th Rd – 2008 Orem

Andrew Taylor 6-1 190 R/L Wake Forest NC 08/18/86 34th Rd – 2008 Orem

Jeremy Thorne 6-4 250 R/R Lakeland FL 10/04/85 29th Rd – 2008 AZL Angels/Orem

Vladmir Veras 6-0 150 R/R Santiago DR 01/10/86 2003 Free Agent Injured – Did Not Play



Catchers (3) Ht. Wt. B/T Resides DOB Acquired 2008 Team

C.J. Bressoud 6-2 195 R/R Kennesaw GA 05/12/85 2008 Free Agent Cedar Rapids/Rancho C.

Beau Brooks 6-1 200 L/R Oklahoma City OK 08/03/87 20th Rd – 2008 AZL Angels/Orem

Anel De Los Santos 6-0 190 R/R San Cristobal DR 06/19/88 2005 Free Agent Cedar Rapids/Arkansas



Infielders (6) Ht. Wt. B/T Resides DOB Acquired 2008 Team

Alexi Amarista 5-8 150 S/R Barcelano VZ 04/06/89 2007 Free Agent AZL/Cedar Rapids

Hector Estrella 5-11 175 R/R Los Angeles CA 12/22/84 40th Rd – 2007 Cedar Rapids

Gabe Jacobo 6-2 190 R/R Tulare CA 04/14/87 10th Rd – 2008 Orem/Cedar Rapids

Darwin Perez 6-0 185 L/L San Joaquin de Turmero VZ 07/27/89 2005 Free Agent Orem/Rancho C.

Jon Townsend 6-0 195 R/R Birmingham AL 09/24/84 2008 Free Agent Orem

Adam Younger 6-2 205 R/R Fort Myers FL 08/25/85 18th Rd – 2008 AZL Angels



Outfielders (4) Ht. Wt. B/T Resides DOB Acquired 2008 Team

Robert Auer 6-0 190 R/R Deland FL 10/24/85 2008 Free Agent Orem

Angel Castillo 6-3 190 R/R Caracas VZ 06/07/89 2005 Free Agent Cedar Rapids/Orem

Carlos Colmenares 6-0 175 S/R Valencia VZ 02/11/86 2004 Free Agent Rancho/Orem/Kernels

Matt Crawford 6-0 165 S/R Waycross GA 05/09/86 23rd Rd – 2008 AZL Angels


It’s RoughRiders against Indiana in playoffs

Give the Des Moines Buccaneers credit for trying. They led the Green Bay Gamblers three different times in their regular-season finale Sunday night in Wisconsin, but Green Bay rallied for a 6-4 win that gives it the USHL’s East Division championship and Anderson Cup for most regular-season points in the league.

What that means is that the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders will play the Indiana Ice in a best-of-5 first-round playoff series that begins Friday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Game 2 is Saturday night at The Stable.

Cedar Rapids finished the regular season with a 38-17-5 record and 81 points, one less than Green Bay and one more than Indiana. The RoughRiders went 4-2-1 against the Ice in the regular season, including a 6-0 spanking of the Ice last Friday night in Cedar Rapids.

Green Bay plays Waterloo in the other East Division first-round playoff series.

RoughRiders’ Donovan, Seidel named to all-USHL team

Defenseman Matt Donovan and forward Mike Seidel have been named to the all-United States Hockey League team, it was announced Sunday.

Donovan was named to the first team, one of only five RoughRiders to earn that honor. The others were goalies Bobby Goepfert (2001-02) and Alex Stalock (2005-06), defenseman Derek Peltier (2003-04) and forward Jacob Cepis (2006-07).

Donovan scored 19 goals and had 51 points this season, both highs for league defensemen and franchise single-season records. The University of Denver commitment and New York Islanders NHL draft pick had 31 goals and 81 points in his two-year RoughRiders career.

Seidel, a Minnesota-Duluth signee, played three seasons for the Riders, setting the franchise’s career records for goals (60), assists (103) and points (163). He had 29 goals and 44 assists this season.

Chicago’s Andrew Miller was named USHL Player of the Year and Forward of the Year. Chicago’s John Moore was named USHL Defenseman of the Year and Fargo’s Mike Lee Goaltender of the Year. Louis Leblanc of Omaha was Rookie of the Year.

Other award winners included Fargo’s Dean Blais (Coach of the Year), Green Bay’s Jon Cooper (General Manager of the Year), Lincoln’s Jim Pflug (Executive of the Year), Omaha’s Jeff Teglia (Scholar-Athlete Award), Chicago’s Mike Walsh (Curt Hammer Award for most gentlemanly player on and off the ice). Fargo was named Organization of the Year.

The rest of the USHL First Team included goalie Brett Bennett (Indiana) and forwards Mike Cichy (Indiana) and Craig Smith (Waterloo). The second team included goalie Kevin Murdock (Lincoln), defensemen David Makowski (Green Bay) and Jake Newton (Lincoln) and forwards Stephane DaCosta (Sioux City) and Andy Taranto (Fargo).

Joining Lee and Leblanc on the All-Rookie Team were defensemen Torey Krug (Indiana) and Brett Kostolansky (Chicago) and forwards David Eddy (Sioux Falls),  Stanislav Galiev (Indiana) and Alex Chiasson (Des Moines).

All of the USHL awards were decided by a vote of league coaches.

RoughRiders clinch 2nd, have chance at title

It all comes down to Sunday night.

The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders went into Waterloo on Saturday night and pulled out a 4-1 victory. That clinches at least second place in the East Division for the Riders, who finish the regular season with a 38-17-5 record. Their 81 points are good for first place … right now.

Second place Green Bay is one point back and has one more regular-season game to go tonight at home against Des Moines. The Gamblers beat the East Division’s worst team on Saturday night, 4-1.

If Green Bay wins Sunday, it is East Division champ and Anderson Cup champ for most regular-season points in the league. If it loses in regulation, Cedar Rapids is champion of both. If Green Bay loses in overtime or a shootout, the teams finished tied, with Green Bay winning  the tiebreaker playoff wise. The teams split eight games this season, but one of Cedar Rapids’ victories was in a shootout. That gives Green Bay nine points in the season series to Cedar Rapids’ eight.

The RoughRiders’ victory Saturday night also clinched the Corridor Cup, given annually to the series winner between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. Cedar Rapids has clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the USHL playoffs, with Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-5 series likely being Friday and Saturday nights at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

Now who will the opponent be? If the RoughRiders win the division outright, they will face Waterloo. Wouldn’t that be fun? If they finish second or in a tie for first, the first-round opponent will be Indiana.

By the way, the RoughRiders ended the regular season with a four-game winning streak. The victories came over West Division champion Lincoln, Green Bay, Indiana and Waterloo.

It doesn’t get more impressive than that!

Door not yet closed on UNI baseball
April 3, 2009, 8:06 pm
Filed under: Northern Iowa

University of Northern Iowa baseball coach Rick Heller said Friday there has been no final resolution one way or the other in regards to his program.

The school announced about a month ago that because of economic conditions within the athletics program, it was cutting baseball unless $1.2 million could be raised by Sunday. According to, fundraising efforts are roughly $1 million short of that goal.

Heller and other supporters have been in regular contact the past week with UNI Athletics Director Troy Dannen and President Ben Allen, bringing forth other proposals to save the program. One included raising $200,000 every year to fund baseball, a proposal Dannen reportedly rejected.

“There is nothing final as we speak,” Heller said Friday, as his team prepared for a Missouri Valley Conference game against Indiana State at Waterloo’s Municipal Stadium.

Heller said he couldn’t say much, only that discussions with UNI administration was still taking place. He said if those discussions are fruitful enough, the April 5 deadline could be extended.

“We’re still trying to find a solution,” Heller said. “There is a sliver of hope.”

A message for Dannen had not yet been returned.

Winkler, Bergman back (?) and a coach-less practice
April 2, 2009, 10:18 pm
Filed under: hockey, USHL, Cedar Rapids, Kernels, baseball, NFL

Forward Scott Winkler will miss Friday’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders game, sitting out a one-game USHL-mandated suspension for a game misconduct in a game March 7 against Waterloo. Winkler was given a checking-from-behind major penalty along with the game misconduct. RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson was not aware Winkler was supposed to sit out the following game, thus the suspension Friday.

Injured Riders forward Robin Bergman said Thursday that he hopes to begin skating next week with an eye toward playing in the USHL playoffs. Bergman was injured in practice last week and has what appears to be a right foot injury, though the team has described it only as a lower-body injury. He was in a walking boot last weekend.

By the way, the USHL playoffs for the RoughRiders will likely start next Friday. The first two games will be at the rink of whomever gets home-ice advantage, with Games 3 and 4 slated for Wednesday, April 15 and Friday the 17th at the other team’s arena. The deciding Game 5 would be the following night.

Carlson was so upset with his team after a loss last weekend at Green Bay, he didn’t attend practice the following day, telling his captains to run it.

Here’s a story that will be in Friday’s Gazette. Kind of interesting.

CEDAR RAPIDS [–] As a coach, you try a lot of different things to get your team to play well.
You work your guys hard, you work them lightly. You try motivational speeches, you tell jokes to lighten the mood.
Mark Carlson tried the absence method last week. The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach/general manager was so peeved at his team for a loss at Green Bay, he made his captains run practice the following day.
Carlson and his assistant coaches simply left the ice and went back to the locker room. After a while, Carlson reappeared and told everyone practice was over.
[“]There was really no need for me to go out there because they weren[‘]t really listening anyway,[“”] Carlson said.
So what was the team[‘]s reaction?
[“]I didn[‘]t wait around to find out,[“”] Carlson said.
[“]It was kind of a wake-up call,[“”] said goalie Mike Johnson. [“]We knew we were a lot better than the way we[‘]d been playing. We definitely learned a lesson.[“”]
Let[‘]s see if it[‘]s a long-lasting lesson. The RoughRiders put together two good games last weekend after Carlson[‘]s disappearing act, winning at Lincoln in overtime and topping Green Bay at home, 4-1.
The regular season ends this weekend with a home game tonight against Indiana and a road game at Waterloo.
[“]I think the guys realize the season is short (now),[“”] said Riders winger Mike Seidel. [“]We want to be here for the next month and a half or whatever it is.
[“]It[‘]s the end of the season, and you want to be able to look at your teammates and say you did everything you could to win.[“”]
Seidel was one of the guys who ran the coachless practice. He said the team worked on things like getting to the net and finishing checks.
After practice, there was a player[‘]s-only meeting to clear the air.
[“]I think we showed last weekend that we[‘]ve figured it out,[“”] Johnson said.
Carlson said he wants more proof before he[‘]ll agree with that.
[“]We[‘]ll see,[“”] he said. [“]It was only one weekend. Last weekend, (the play) was better, but I don[‘]t think it had anything to do with me. Sooner or later, I don[‘]t care whether it[‘]s hockey or baseball or whatever it is, the players have to take over at some point. Maybe they have.[“”]
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RoughRiders announce team award winners

Mike Seidel was named Most Valuable Player and Best Offensive Player of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a vote of fans, it was announced at the RoughRiders’ annual postseason banquet.

Seidel is the Riders’ franchise leader in goals and points. He leads the team in goals and points this season as well.

Other award winners: Matt Donovan (Best Defensive Player), Paul Phillips (Unsung Hero), Troy Grosenick (Most Improved) and Jeff Costello (Fan Favorite).

Donovan also won the team’s Community Service Award. Nick Oddo received the Phil Weber Memorial Scholarship. Craig Daves was named Volunteer of the Year and Alissa Wanless Intern of the Year.

RoughRiders players are expected to be behind the bench tonight during the Cedar Rapids Youth Hockey Association’s Mite-level championship game at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

Three players will serve as coaches for the Cedar Rapids Army team and three more will be coaches for the Cedar Rapids Miami mites.

“This is going to be really good for the kids in our hockey program,” said arena hockey operations director Kevin Brooks.

Other RoughRiders players will be at the controls for a pregame light show and player introductions, as well as handling public-address duties throughout the game.